If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve been traumatized by online customer reviews. Many consumer review websites offer no help when it comes to responding to complaints (seriously, making me pay to leave a comment is just bribery), while others even hide your well-earned reviews from the world. Experiences like these uphold the unspoken truth that review websites are designed solely for their own benefit rather than to help consumers or business owners.
Facebook’s change from ‘Reviews’ to ‘Recommendations’ is a saving grace for small business owners who don’t have the budget or know-how to monitor their online reputation as well as they’d like. These changes seem to be grounded in the value they provide for small businesses as well as their customers, which we think is a major win! Consumers have more options to recommend a business, while business owners have better insights into why their customers stay loyal.
By utilizing the Recommendations feature released in 2016, businesses now directly benefit from word-of-mouth on social. When someone responds to a request for a recommendation in a group or on a personal profile, these recommendations will be reflected on your FB Business Page under the Reviews tab.
This means your friends, family, and customers don’t have to go out of their way to leave a stiff, formal review on Facebook. They can simply act as they normally would, using language that sounds natural and heartfelt (because it is!), while your business reaps the benefits of their day-to-day social media behavior.
With the word “authentic” being thrown around as the marketing buzzword of the year, it’s nice to see Facebook implementing features that live up to the actual definition of the word.
Sentiment over Score
Don’t you hate it when someone leaves a 5-star review with no comments? Like, if you’ve made it all the way to my page to leave a review, could you not at least write one sentence about why you gave me 5 stars? Are reviews really that burdensome?!
Phew. Pet peeve rant over.
Thanks to this new release, gone are the days where consumers can ‘game the system’ by leaving a comment-less 5-star rating to boost your overall score without any concrete evidence to back it up. Now, a minimum of 25 characters is required to post a recommendation. Reviewers have to leave feedback about why they either recommended you or didn’t.
However, the star rating isn’t completely gone. Businesses are still rated on a scale of 1-5, but it is now called the ‘Opinion Score’ and the factors for rating have changed.
Both business owners and consumers benefit from sentiment-based ratings. Whereas previously, someone could write a review that speaks highly of the business but accidentally post it as a 1-star rating that drags down the overall score, recommendations are more user-friendly for consumers and less damaging for a businesses’ reputation.
Useful Marketing Data
Tags are a brand-new Facebook feature that shows business owners what customers are talking about most within your reviews.
As a consumer begins to leave a review, they’ll be prompted to pick tags that summarize their recommendation. These tags are then shown in bold at the end of each review.
Business owners should use this feedback as an easy way to enhance your marketing initiatives. If your customers are raving about your Tuscan chicken pizza, you may consider running an ad specifically for that product. After all, you know it’s a fan favorite! On the other hand, if you consistently get complaints about a particular issue you know exactly what to improve. Plus, highlighting these tags makes it easy for consumers to skim through your reviews while still gathering enough information to make an educated purchasing decision.
Be Part of the Solution
Yes, Facebook’s changes have drastically improved the review experience for both consumers and businesses, but this is just one piece of the reputation management puzzle. At the end of the day, your reputation will be decided by the quality of your product/service and the customer service you provide.
As I did my research for this article, I decided to recommend a local business that I patron often. I wanted to get hands-on experience of how the new review process works while throwing some positive feedback their way. Win-win.
Turns out, they have even better customer service than I thought! This is a prime example of how to be part of the solution. Facebook’s new Recommendations feature absolutely makes it easier for consumers to recommend your business and improve your rating, but it’s up to you to give your customers something to rave about.
Have you noticed a change in your businesses’ online reputation since the new features were released? We want to know! Comment below with your experience of Facebook’s Recommendations.